Question S5W-12961: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, answered: 07/12/17
To ask the Scottish Government what the take-up rate has been of the ScotRail Smartcard; when it will be rolled out across all routes; what it considers the advantages of the card are, and how the services that it offers compare with the Oyster Card in London and other similar cards across the UK.
Humza Yousaf: ScotRail's Smartcard has been introduced on all routes and is available for most ticket types.
There are a number of advantages for passengers using a ScotRail smartcard (Saltire Card). Some special promotional fares are only available on Smart. Super Off Peak Day Return and Club 50 are exclusive to Smart which provide discount travel. For Smart season ticket holders, exclusive online benefits are also offered, including discounts and deals on the high street. Smart also offers more convenience for passengers as tickets can be purchased online making it faster and easier with no need to queue at the ticket office as well as providing more security against lost and stolen cards. Smartcard also brings the rail industry in line with other transport operators and it provides the opportunity for Transport Scotland to expand and create new ways of making Scotland's public transport interoperable.
ScotRail will be piloting Account Based Ticketing in 2018, which will allow payment to be added to Smartcards and offer passengers daily and weekly best fares without having to purchase tickets before travelling (similar to that which is offered on Oyster in London).
Question S5W-12962: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, answered: 05/12/17
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-03905 by Humza Yousaf on 28 October 2016, how many smartcards a person would need to travel by bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram.
Humza Yousaf: We continue to work towards our vision that all journeys on Scotland's bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram can be made using some form of smart ticket or payment. For some time now this has focused on creating an infrastructure across all of Scotland that can support saltirecards (ITSO secure smartcard) and - particularly for bus - contactless bank cards (EMV).
To make using public transport around Scotland a simpler experience for the public, and having now largely put the infrastructure in place, we are now working to improve smart ticketing interoperability by persuading over 200 transport operators across all modes to accept products on each others' cards.
Over the last few months many of the major operators have also launched EMV on their services, benefiting the travelling public with an additional, easy and convenient way to pay. As technology moves apace we are also looking to take advantage of ITSO's emerging options for using a mobile phone rather than a smartcard.
Lastly, we have just closed our "Future of Smart Ticketing" consultation (December 5th) which considers whether legislation and governance requirements are needed to enable further, quicker progress with this consistent and standardised approach.
Question S5W-13181: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, answered: 20/12/17
To ask the Scottish Government how many trains were (a) cancelled or (b) delayed by the northbound Caledonian Sleeper breakdown on the single track north of Dalwhinnie on 6 November 2017, and what the total delay minutes were.
Humza Yousaf: As a result of the breakdown of the Caledonian Sleeper locomotive north of Dalwhinnie on 6 November, ten ScotRail trains were cancelled in full and eight more in part; three trains which completed their journeys were delayed for more than five minutes; and ScotRail services as a whole incurred 417 minutes of delay.
Question S5W-13183: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, answered: 19/12/17
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to double-track the Highland rail mainline between Dalwhinnie and Newtonmore, and whether it plans to double-track the other remaining sections of the line.
Humza Yousaf: Phase 2 of the Highland Main Line Enhancements Programme, which aims to deliver faster more frequent journeys by spring 2019, used the Rail industry Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process to develop and select a preferred option that was output focused, this combines timetable enhancements, better performance of the High Speed Trains (HST's) to be introduced on the route, and infrastructure interventions at key train passing points at Aviemore and Pitlochry.
Currently there are no plans to double-track the Highland Main Line between Dalwhinnie and Newtonmore or other remaining sections of the line.
The following question produced an interesting fact in the paragraph extracted from the full answer:
Question S5W-12510: Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party, answered: 15/11/17
To ask the Scottish Government what investment it is making in the West Highland Line.
Humza Yousaf: [extract]...The Programme for Government, published in September 2017 also highlighted the development of proposals to introduce dedicated carriages for cycles and other outdoor equipment on rural routes in the north and west.